William Liseter Austin notebooksCreation: 1879-1892
William Liseter Austin (1852-1932) was an executive of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Baldwin Locomotive Works was a manufacturer of railroad locomotives from 1825 until 1972. This small collection consists of six pocket notebooks carried by Austin on separate business trips between 1879 and 1892. The trips were undertaken to confer with representatives of Baldwin's customer railroads concerning proposed designs or faulty performance of Baldwin locomotives.
- Creation: 1879-1892
- Austin, William Liseter, 1852-1932 (Person)
0.125 Linear Foot
William Liseter Austin (1852-1932) was an executive of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Baldwin Locomotive Works was a manufacturer of railroad locomotives from 1825 until 1972.
Austin began his career as a draftsman in the Philadelphia Patent Office in 1868, leaving the following year to become a draftsman at the Kensington Steam Engine Works.
In 1870, he entered the Baldwin Locomotive Works, serving as draftsman and designer under William P. Henszey. He remained with the company until his death, serving successively as chief designer, engineer, vice president, and president from 1910 to 1911; chairman of the board from 1911 to 1912; and director.
In addition, Austin was very active in professional organizations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Franklin Institute. He died at his home in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, on March 10, 1932.
Scope and Contents
The six pocket notebooks were carried by Austin on separate trips between 1879 and 1892. The trips were undertaken to confer with representatives of Baldwin's customer railroads concerning proposed designs or faulty performance of Baldwin locomotives.
The first notebook covers a visit to the Reading, Pennsylvania, shops of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad in 1879. It appears to represent a design conference for the new I-1 class freight locomotives that were delivered by Baldwin in the following year. These engines were constructed with the new wide firebox designed by the Reading's John E. Wootten to burn fine waste anthracite. The notebook contains numerous sketches of components and required clearances.
The second and third notebooks describe two extended tours in 1887, during which Austin conferred with numerous officials of customer railroads. The first of these took him as far as Denver, going by way of Chicago, St. Paul, and Omaha and returning via St. Louis and Cincinnati. The second was a round trip to Atlanta. These books primarily list itineraries and appointments with little technical data.
The fourth notebook records a trip to Brooklyn and New York in August 1888 concerning the deficiencies in a locomotive built for the Brooklyn, Bath and West End Railroad, as well as an export order for the Provincial Railways of Buenos Aires.
The fifth notebook, which includes several sketches, records a conference in New York in 1889 concerning the design of a locomotive for the New York Elevated Railroad. The sixth notebook records a conference with officials of the Missouri Pacific Railway in St. Louis in March 1892.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
- Baldwin Locomotive Works (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- William Liseter Austin notebooks
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- 2020: Laurie Sather